Manchester United confirm Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s exit

Manchester United have confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be released on June 30, ending his one-year spell with the club.

Ibrahimovic was named on the official list of players let go by England’s top-flight clubs after United chose – to date – not to renew the Swede’s 12-month contract, which expires on June 30, or take up the option to extend it by a year.

The striker scored 28 goals for United following his move last summer but his future was thrown into doubt by a season-ending knee injury in April.

John Terry has also been confirmed as a free agent after leaving Chelsea while Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas, Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero are all among those released by Manchester City.

Sam Allardyce quits as manager of Crystal Palace  – hints  at retirement 

​Sam Allardyce has left his job as Crystal Palace manager after just five months in charge at Selhurst Park, stating that he has “no ambition to take another job” in football.

Allardyce told Palace owner Steve Parish of his desire to leave the club during a meeting in central London on Tuesday.

The 62-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year deal when he was appointed as Palace boss in December – less than three months after leaving his role with England – and managed to keep the club in the Premier League, lifting them from 17th to 14th.

“In some ways, this has been a very difficult decision to make but in others it has been a simple one,” Allardyce said in a statement released by his representative.

“I will always be grateful to Crystal Palace and Steve Parish for giving me the opportunity to go out with my head held high having helped keep the club in the Premier League.


“More than that, they gave me a chance of rebuilding my reputation after what happened with England. I felt I needed another shot at being a Premier League manager and showing that I still had the ability to achieve something significant. As I said last weekend, Palace gave me the chance of rehabilitation.
“That’s why it’s hard walking away now. I believe the club are heading in the right direction with a hugely supportive board of directors, a great squad of players and some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever met. It’s been a privilege to have worked for them for the past five months.

“But there comes a time when you have to take stock of what direction you want your life to take – and that’s been the simple part for me.

“I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy, even if I’m beginning to feel all my 62 years.

“While I’ve got the energy, I want to travel and also spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager. I owe that to my wife and family.

“This is the right time for me, I know that in my heart. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.
“Steve Parish has been superb during our conversations today. I know it came as a shock to him that I would walk away but our discussions have been incredibly civilised with no recriminations and no fall-out.

“This is not about transfer targets, club finances or anything along those lines. This is me taking the decision I believe is right for my family and myself.

“I would like to thank everybody for their messages of support since the news broke. I’ve no doubt I will miss management but I certainly have no regrets at this decision.”

The former England manager was appointed as Alan Pardew’s successor, with the Palace languishing in 17th place and just a point above the relegation zone.

It was a swift return to management for Allardyce, who had been out of work since leaving his post as England boss by mutual consent at the end of September after 67 days and just one game following a newspaper investigation.

Allardyce inspired Palace to six wins from eight matches, including victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, to help them preserve their top-flight status with a 14th-place finish.

In doing so, Allardyce maintained his record of having never been relegated from the Premier League.

EPL results: Final day – Champions Chelsea  cruise on Terry’s farewell match; Arsenal win but miss out of Champions League; Kane nets a hat trick- wins Golden boot

​Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton

Burnley 1 – 2 West Ham  United

Chelsea 5 – 1 Sunderland

Hull City 1 – 7 Tottenham  Hotspur

Leicester City 1 – 1 AFC Bournemouth

Liverpool 3 – 0 Middlesbrough

Manchester United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

Southampton 0 – 1 Stoke City

Swansea City 2 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

Watford 0 – 5 Manchester  City

  • Chelsea 5 – 1 Sunderland

Premier League champions Chelsea beat Sunderland 5-1 to break the Premier League record for wins in a season, as captain John Terry waved goodbye to Stamford Bridge.

With their 30th Premier League victory of the season, Chelsea have broken the competition record set by Jose Mourinho’s title-winning Blues teams in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons, who both won 29 of their 38 league matches.

The win also means Conte’s men finish the season with 93 points, a tally beaten only by Chelsea’s first Premier League title-winning side in 2004-05.

Blues legend, Terry, who has spent 22 years at the club but will leave this summer, played 26 minutes after starting his second match in a row and was replaced to a standing ovation and a guard of honour from his team-mates.

Willian’s equaliser  had already cancelled out Javier Manquillo’s third-minute strike by that point, and Eden Hazard and Pedro scored after the break to put the hosts in control.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi grabbed a late double to seal a record-breaking 30th Premier League victory this season.

It was the perfect prelude to the lifting of the trophy after the match and for Chelsea’s FA Cup final against Arsenal on Saturday.

  • Hull City 1 – 7 Tottenham  Hotspur

Harry Kane finished as the Premier League’s top scorer for the second successive season after scoring a hat-trick as Tottenham thrashed Hull 7-1 on the final day.

The striker, who netted four in a 6-1 win at Leicester on Thursday, followed up with two goals inside the opening 15 minutes at the KCOM Stadium.

Dele Alli made it 3-0 before half-time and, after Sam Clucas pulled a goal back in the 66th minute, Spurs finished with a flourish.

Victor Wanyama headed in before Kane completed his hat-trick and Ben Davies and Toby Alderweireld scored their first Premier League goals of the season.

Kane wins the Golden Boot award with 29 goals, four more than nearest rival Romelu Lukaku.

And the rout concludes another impressive campaign for Spurs, who finish second behind Chelsea on 86 points with just four defeats and a club-record 26 goals conceded.

Hull, meanwhile, drop to the Championship with uncertainty over the future of Marco Silva, who was serenaded by fans throughout the match in a bid to keep him at the club, with  talks planned next week.

  • Watford 0 – 5 Manchester  City

Manchester City sealed their place in next season’s Champions League by crushing Watford to finish third in Pep Guardiola’s debut season.

City skipper Vincent Kompany was left unmarked to head in an early opener before Sergio Aguero twice clinically fired in after quick counters-attacks.

The Blues, needing a point to guarantee a finish in the top four, were 4-0 up at half-time after Fernandinho bundled in.

Gabriel Jesus clipped in a fifth after the break as Watford ended the reign of departing manager Walter Mazzarri with a shocking display.

Mazzarri, who leaves after just one season, was booed by some Hornets fans during the game as the hosts suffered a sixth successive defeat to finish in 17th place.

  • Liverpool 3 – 0 Middlesbrough

Liverpool secured their Champions League return as their initial nerves turned to jubilation and relegated Middlesbrough crumbled at Anfield.

With top-four rivals Arsenal ahead at Everton, Liverpool were impotent in attack and twitchy at the back for most of the first half.

But Georginio Wijnaldum eased the tension in injury time, bursting into the box and smashing in a fierce shot at the near post.

Philippe Coutinho’s low curling free-kick six minutes into the second half was quickly followed by Adam Lallana slotting in to give the Reds a comfortable cushion to ride out to full-time.

With Manchester City thrashing Watford, Liverpool finished fourth in the final Premier League table and will have to negotiate Champions League qualifying at the start of next season.

  • ​Arsenal 3 – 1 Everton

Arsenal missed out on a place in the Champions League for the first time in 20 years despite beating Everton on the final day of the season.

Arsene Wenger’s side got the win they required despite having defender Laurent Koscielny sent off for a reckless first-half challenge on Everton’s Enner Valencia. He will now serve a suspension that will keep him out of the FA Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley.

Arsenal took the lead early on through Hector Bellerin’s far-post finish and Alexis Sanchez scrambled in a second after Koscielny’s dismissal to put the Gunners in control.

It was to no avail as Liverpool completed their task by beating Middlesbrough to finish fourth.

The Gunners did end the league campaign with a flourish though thanks to Aaron Ramsey’s brilliant injury-time strike from 20 yards after Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back for Everton from the penalty spot.

The hosts, who also had defender Gabriel taken off injured on a stretcher, now turn their attention to Wembley, after which an announcement on manager Wenger’s future will be made.

  • Manchester United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace

Josh Harrop scored on his debut as Manchester United’s disappointing Premier League campaign ended with a comfortable victory over Crystal Palace.

Harrop was one of four players given their first top-flight starts as manager Jose Mourinho named the youngest United line-up in Premier League history, with an average age of 22 years and 284 days.

The 21-year-old midfielder was brimming with confidence and lashed in a superb finish from inside the box in the first half, and could have had a second, but curled an effort narrowly wide.

Paul Pogba doubled the advantage with a low strike before being replaced by Michael Carrick with Wednesday’s Europa League final against Ajax in mind.

With two minutes remaining the London-born and Salford-raised Angel Gomes replaced captain Wayne Rooney to become the club’s youngest ever Premier League player at 16 years and 263 days old.

He is also the first player born in the 21st century to appear in the Premier League.

Palace’s best chance went to Christian Benteke in the second half, but the striker’s towering header struck the foot of the post.

Victory means United collect £28.5m in competition prize money for a sixth place finish – their second successive season outside the top four – while Palace end the season in 14th, earning them £13.3m.

  • Southampton 0 – 1 Stoke City

Southampton” miserable home form continued as Peter Crouch struck the only goal of the game to help Stoke to a first away win since January on the final day of the season.

The home side enjoyed the majority of possession but Nathan Redmond’s lob on to the bar on the stroke of half-time was their best moment until Crouch pounced.

The striker’s 10th goal of the season arrived when he headed home a Geoff Cameron cross and they deserved the lead after creating openings throughout.

Southampton rallied late on as Jack Butland produced fine saves to deny Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse and Sofiane Boufal but Claude Puel’s side end the campaign without a win in five games at St Mary’s.

His side end the season eighth, with their lowest points tally since 2012-13, while Stoke finish 13th, their lowest finish since the same season.

  • Leicester City 1 – 1 AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth secured their highest top-flight finish with a draw at Leicester on the final day of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Junior Stanislas put the Cherries ahead after just 59 seconds, smashing in a rebound from Ryan Fraser’s shot at the end of Lys Mousset’s driving run.

Leicester started poorly but were transformed after the break and Jamie Vardy poked in Islam Slimani’s knockdown early in the second half.

Vardy had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside nine minutes later as he stabbed in after Slimani’s blocked shot, while Slimani headed badly wide when found in space by a Riyad Mahrez free-kick with five minutes to play.

The Cherries – who finished 16th in their first Premier League campaign last year – end the season in ninth, while 2015-16 champions Leicester move down to 12th.

  • Swansea City 2 – 1 West Bromwich Albion

Swansea City fought back from a goal down to beat West Brom on the final day of the Premier League season.

Having secured survival a week earlier, the hosts were in relaxed mood at a relieved Liberty Stadium but fell behind in the first half as Jonny Evans nodded in from a corner.

Swansea improved after the interval and equalised as Jordan Ayew headed his first goal for the club, before Fernando Llorente volleyed the winning goal with five minutes left.

A fourth win in five games lifts the Swans up to 15th in the Premier League table while a ninth match without victory means West Brom finish the campaign in 10th place.

Whereas the Baggies’ second-half decline was symptomatic of their fading fortunes at the end of the season, Swansea’s late revival was representative of their inspired run-in.

  • Burnley 1 – 2 West Ham  United

West Ham ended their season with an away victory as they came from behind to beat Burnley at Turf Moor.

Burnley went ahead when Sam Vokes scored his 10th league goal of the season when he finished off Andre Gray’s low cross.

The hosts’ lead only lasted four minutes before Sofiane Feghouli netted to complete a fine move that also involved Edimilson Fernandes and Andre Ayew.

Ayew scored the winning goal with a close-range header after Tom Heaton had pushed Fernandes’ shot on to the crossbar.

The result means West Ham end the season in 11th place, missing out on a top-10 position on goal difference, while Burnley finish in 16th.

Chelsea’s Pedro wins April  Goal of the month award

Chelsea forward Pedro Rodriguez has won April’s Premier League Goal of the Month award for his stunning 25-yard strike in Chelsea’s win at Everton.

Pedro’s goal was voted the best from a shortlist that also included Roberto Firmino’s superb effort for Liverpool at Stoke and a fine Dele Alli finish for Tottenham Hotspur at home to Watford.

The Spain international found the top corner with a fierce left-foot strike to put Antonio Conte’s men on course for a crucial victory in their charge towards the Premier League title.
He has contributed eight goals and eight assists in 32 Premier League appearances for Chelsea this season, and also won the November goal of the month award for a curling effort from outside the box in a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge.

Editorial: Leicester City can start to dream

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A lot has been said about how ridiculously poor Mourinho’s team has been this season. Against Leicester, it took them an hour to get out of the team bus but by then Leicester City was already out of sight with Mahrez and Vardy providing two goals. While Chelsea’s poor form has been analysed and reanalysed, and then reanalysed again, little has been said about how good this Leicester side has been.

Nigel Pearson’s sack was widely criticised by fans, pundits and the media. But, the arrival of Claudio Ranieri has been like a breath of fresh air. The Italian manager has had difficult spells since he was sacked from Chelsea in 2004. At Leicester, the Italian has been reborn. The brand of football on display at the King Power Stadium has been exhilarating.  In the first 60 minutes, they were like a moving train and the Blues felt the full effect. The Champion improved in the final 30 minutes but aside the goal Leicester City conceded, they looked assured at the back showing a ruthless and efficient resilience that Mourinho would have been proud of.

Claudio Ranieri may be trying hard to keep the target low and even dismiss a title challenge, but this Leicester side must now be taken seriously. Only 5 points are required to meet the manager’s target of 40 points. But surely, you expect that the expectation will have to go up. In Mahrez and Vardy, they have the most potent duo in the league. Both combined have scored more goals than 16 other teams in the league. Past league winners have depended on star players to provide goals. The great Arsenal sides had Thierry Henry or Ian Wright. Manchester United had Ruud Van Nistelrooy and City has Sergio Aguero. Leicester City however, boasts of two very potent forwards. The key has been to get the ball forward to them quickly and they have duly punished every defence they have come against this season.

They may fall away before the end of the season but there is something about them that makes one feel they will have a big say. Chelsea’s star players may have “betrayed” their manager last night but Leicester City ensured that happened. They in fact were the catalyst meaning that Mourinho was forced to make changes more in desperation. They forced Chelsea into very uncomfortable situations and saying Chelsea were poor will amount to us not giving the Foxes the credit the quality of their play deserved. Chelsea will not win the league. They may not even make the Champions League next season unless they win the competition this season. But for Leicester City, their fans can start to dream.

Preview: Swansea Vs Leicester City

 

Barclays-POTM-Vardy-04Claudio Ranieri takes high-flying Leicester City to Wales to face a team who are gradually finding their way down the table. Swansea City are on a poor run of form and have won just one in their last 10 Premier games, drawing three and losing the other six. They come up against a Jamie Vardy who is in the form of his life. The English forward has scored in his last 11 Premier League games and there is a sense of near certainty that he could add a Swansea side low on confidence to his list of victims and conquest.

Swansea City have an impressive record at home to the Foxes and have won their last three league games at home against their opponents this weekend without conceding a single goal. However, the contrasting fortunes of both sides could make such stats history and even irrelevant. Swansea City has failed to score in six of their last 10 Premier League games. Ranieri has tried to play down the significance of Leicester City’s fine start but such modesty can take nothing away from his side who have lost just one of their 14 Premier League games so far this season – their lowest tally of defeats at this stage of a top-flight season and they have scored in each of their 14 Premier League games this season. Even the biggest pessimist will admit that this side has to be taken seriously.

 

Team news

Swansea

Jonjo Shelvey is available again for selection after serving his suspension, but Franck Tabanou will be unavailable for several weeks after injuring a thigh muscle in training.

Leicester City

Leicester will be without Ritchie de Laet for around a month due to an ankle injury while Matty James will not recover in time for the game. Nathan Dyer is ineligible against his parent club following his loan move to the Foxes.

Preview: Arsenal Vs Everton

Chelsea v Arsenal - FA Community Shield

Arsenal’s disciplined and efficient performance against Bayern Munich in midweek has provided renewed optimism at the North London club. Confidence is flowing at the London club and the opening day defeat to West Ham seems like ages ago as they welcome Everton to the Emirates. Everton were well beaten by Manchester United last weekend in a game they lost 3-0. They face another difficult test when they travel to London to play Arsenal.

Roberto Martinez will hope his charges come up with a better performance in a game that they have not had too much success recently. The Merseyside club have won just once in the last 16 Premier League meeting between the sides with the Gunners recording nine victories in those meetings. Arsenal were starved of the ball for long periods in midweek against the German champions but Wenger will want his side to seize the initiative in this match. Arsenal ability to collapse and lose concentration is well documented and this Everton side will seek to capitalise on any such gifts. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku will be the players Everton will hope turns up on the day if they are to get anything from the game.

Petr Cech has provided some much needed calmness to the Arsenal defence and already has seven clean sheets in his first 11 games. The veteran, who now has 167 clean sheets, is closing in on David James’ record of 169 clean sheets in the premier league and his recent form suggest that it is a record he is capable of beating in a matter of weeks. Olivier Giroud has found goals easy to come by in this fixture and has netted four goals in the last four meeting between the two teams. Wenger faces a selection headache and has to decide whether to bring in the French international or persist with Theo Walcott.

Team News

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey suffered injury against Bayern in midweek and will be sidelined until after the next international break. Arteta is ruled out for the game against his former side after picking up an ankle injury in training. Gabriel Paulista is available for selection while Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all have long term injuries. David Ospina is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Everton

Tom Cleverly and Steven Pienaar are available for selection after recovering from injuries.